Sunday, December 14, 2014

Now Showing - Threads of War

By crazy coincidence, a portion of the Denmark-based collaborative art project in which I participated, In a War Someone has to Die, is currently on display in Raleigh. And I'm thrilled that my piece is in the show.

One of the loveliest pieces from In a War. Artist unknown.

Curated by Betsy Greer, the Threads of War exhibition also includes textile art by Bonnie Peterson and work from the Combat Paper Project, in which a military wife, soldiers and civilians make paper out of worn military uniforms.

In a War, installed by Betsy Greer.

I never expected to see this work again. It has been shown several times in Copenhagen. Betsy did a wonderful job installing the collection in Gallery Two at Artspace in Raleigh, NC.
In a War, by Jamie "Mr X" Chalmers.

Selection of languages, textiles. Regram from Andy Bechtel.

One of the highlights of attending the opening was meeting Betsy in person and spending time speaking with her about the individual embroideries. We geeked out together, marveling at the needlework, variety of textiles and beauty of the stitched languages. What a lovely, passionate, interesting woman Betsy is.
In a War. Artists unknown.

(More about the uber cool Betsy: She is a writer, a researcher, and a maker. She earned her MA in Sociology from Goldsmiths College in London in 2004. She is the author of Knitting for Good! and most recently, Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism.)

Variety. Mine is the pink piece with blue and green flowers.

On a personal note I was struck by how much my stitching has improved since I made the piece in 2012. And I was moved almost to tears to see my mother’s handwriting, which I stitched, in her first language, Spanish. My mother has the most beautiful, looping, unusual way of writing.
Satin stitch Arabic. Artist unknown.

Here are the exhibition details: Threads of War, Artspace, Gallery Two
, 201 East Davie Street, Raleigh, NC
, December 5, 2014 – January 17, 2015

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Another Fake Library Card, mofos!

Edgy little Kat di Natale always knew that the rest of us would eventually recognize the genius of her "mofo" critique of early 21st Century life. And here is the proof -- Harper Collins gave her a book deal!

Another faux library catalog card for a made up book.

"Merry Xmas, Mofos!" is the first in what she expects will be a delicious series of guidebooks for the "world weary poseur."

Where else can you learn about using Instagram filters to gussy up the looks of your hideously ugly relatives and their evil spawn? Or find tips for the best way to remain on the functioning side of drunkeness at family gatherings? Martha Stewart? Yeah, right.

WIP: Merry Xmas, Mofos! Watercolor and hand embroidery on card stock. 

di Natale is currently living in her step-grandmother's basement up in suburban Toledo, working on the pitch for her next title, "Trolling Yourself on Twitter for Sympathy and Buzz, Mofos!"

Go, Kat, go!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Naïve? Clueless? Arrogant?

Naïve? Clueless? Arrogant?

WIP: 11/5/14. More than halfway done.

I’m not sure which quality is the most responsible for me taking on this insanely huge piece. Probably a little of all three.

Spanish Eyes has turned into my "Epic Art Project" of 2014.  This is my first X stitch design and only my second X stitch project. (The first being the RuStitch project with Aubrey Longley-Cook.) So clueless is probably the best explanation. Or the least unflattering.

"Money shot." Stitching baby pink floss (4 strands) for the "whites" of my left eye.

The downside is that sometimes I feel less like an artist and more like a machine. But you have to put in the work to create anything, so it that’s how it goes.

Overview of Spanish Eyes.

Since I have a busy, corporate day job and a life full of people I care about, I haven’t had as much time to paint or sketch or play with new ideas. When I have time to focus on art, I sit patiently and stitch my eyes. Not that I don’t enjoy it. Not that it doesn’t excite me to do the work. It is just not so interesting to share with others.

So be it. Head down, keep working.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A second eye emerges

Well, an eyebrow, anyway...

WIP: Spanish Eyes, Oct. 15,2014.

And here is a money shot!

Making Xs.
Moving at the speed of sloth.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Saint Kewpie, redux

I wasn't happy with the first version of the Street Virgins of Brooklyn make believe library catalog card, so I made a second version.

Street Virgins of Brooklyn 2, faux library catalog card.
Hand embroidery and watercolor.

I'd wanted to capture more of the feel of German artist Katharina Fritsch's sculptures, particularly the collection of figures in the MOMA sculpture from a few years back.

Katharina Fritsch collection, MOMA Sculpture Garden. (Photo from MOMA)

My first attempt was too muddy and soupy, not enough pop of color or unnerving crispness.

Detail, yellow Madonna.

To recap the content of this make believe book... Street Virgins of Brooklyn it is the work of Brooklyn poet and Russian translator Kevin Kinsella. In the volume, Kinsella roams the streets of his Windsor Place neighborhood, communing with the biblical yard statuary he finds in alleys and tiny front gardens.

Saint Kewpie, detail.
Kinsella's hauting haikus are responsible for the rediscovery of a forgotten NYC figure, Saint Kewpie, who was horrifically martyred in a Queens apartment incinerator and canonized during the brief papacy of John Paul I.

Process piece. Yellow Madonna from the back.

As the reworking of this card has taught me, a Kinsella's work is never done.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In a War... again (exhibition)

Back in 2012, I contributed to a collaborative, stitched art project call In a War Someone Has to Die, created by Danish artist Hanne Bang.

Follow the red arrow to my piece. (Photo from H. Bang.)

The project collected handkerchiefs from around the world, all embroidered with the line uttered in a matter-of-fact manner by a soldier-for-hire from Africa, "In a war, someone has to die." (Read more about it here.)

Opening night, Copenhagen. (Photo from H Bang.)

The collection has been exhibited several times, most recently as part of the miniTex14 exhibition at the Rundetaarn in Copenhagen.

I was excited to find my pink, scalloped handkerchief on the wall, embroidered with my mother's beautiful handwriting, in Spanish, her first language.

Hanging the works. (Photo from H. Bang.)

I want to go to Denmark to see the whole exhibition! In the meantime, here is a video about it, with lots of wonderful images.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Biblical Yard Waste

Street Virgins of Brooklyn is a collection of photos and haiku by poet and Russian translator Kevin Kinsella. Kinsella wanders the streets of Windsor Terrace, his Brooklyn neighbor, writing poetry and communing with the biblical garage statues he encounters.

Mold is spreading on the card catalog entry for the make believe book.

Even though the Street Virgins was just released this year, physical copies of the book are mysteriously (some would say miraculously) decomposing at a rapid pace. It's as if the books, presumably safe on the coffee tables and bookshelves of their Brooklyn homes, are suffering the same elemental decay of the plaster yard saints they depict. Pages are buckling and curling. Mold is growing on the spines. A chorus of WTFs rises in Brooklyn.

WIP: Saint Kewpie, who was canonized by Pope John Paul I.

The Vatican was not available for comment.

Biblical yard waste sketches, based on photos by Kinsella.

The most terrifying and yet somehow predictable morning in the Kinsella household occurred a week ago.

Kinsella returned home from walking his daughter to pre school to find a small army of neighborhood Saint Kewpies (who was martyred in a Queens incinerator back in the 1970s and canonized during the 33-day papacy of Pope John Paul I) staring menacingly down on him from his front steps.

WIP: Fighting through the decay.
This library catalog card is also decaying at a faster pace than one would expect.